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1.
Chemosphere ; 302: 134805, 2022 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20242488

ABSTRACT

The tremendous use of plastic products to averse the infection rate during Covid-19 pandemic has developed great pressure on the management and disposal systems of plastic waste. The compulsory use of face masks to curb the infection and prevent transmission of the virus has led to addition of millions of face masks into the terrestrial and marine environment. The current study attempts to assess and quantify the rate of infection in coherence with the annual usage of face masks in various nations across the globe. The ecological footprint of the plastic waste generated from used and discarded face masks along with their potential impacts have also been discussed. The current study has quantified the total annual face masks across thirty-six nations to be more than 1.5 million ton. The total estimated figure for annual plastic waste and microplastics in all these nations was ∼4.2 million tonnes and 9774 thousand tonnes, which emerges as a great threat to the global efforts towards reduction of plastic usage. The emergence of Covid-19 pandemic has modified the living habits with new enterprises being set up for Covid essential products, but the associated hazard of these products has been significantly ignored. Hence this study attempts to present a quantitative baseline database towards interpretation and understanding of the hazards associated with microplastics and increased dependence on plastic products.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Microplastics , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Masks , Pandemics/prevention & control , Plastics
2.
Environ Sci Pollut Res Int ; 30(31): 77453-77468, 2023 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20237864

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has mandated people to use medical masks to protect the public. However the improper management of disposable mask waste has led to the increase of marine pollution, in terms of water quality, and the decline in aquatic microorganisms. The aim of this research was to investigate the impact of disposable mask waste on fresh water and microalgae biomass quality. Disposable masks (untreated or treated with Enterococcus faecalis) were placed in 10-L glass reactors containing fresh water or water containing algal Chlorella sp. and its growth supplements (Chlorella medium) (four 10-L reactors in total) and kept in controlled conditions for 3 months. Water and biomass yield quality were evaluated using water quality analysis, spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and proximate lipid and protein analysis. Disposable masks, incubated in either fresh water or Chlorella medium, affected several water quality parameters such as chemical oxygen demand (COD), biological oxygen demand (BOD), dissolved oxygen (DO), and pH. Microplastic identification revealed that some fibers were present in the water following a 100-day treatment process. Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis was used to determine the change in important, organic functional groups and highlighted the disappearance of a peak at 1530 cm-1 corresponding to the primary protein (C-N) and the appearance of new peaks at 1651 cm-1 and 1270 cm-1 corresponding to methyl alcohol (CH2OH) and ketone (C = O), respectively. This indicated the detrimental effect of disposable mask fragmentation on the biomass quality. The SEM investigation has shown a damage to the surface membrane of Chlorella sp. cells. Altogether, disposable masks decreased the water quality and damaged microalgae by inhibiting their growth. Therefore, the disposable mask contaminated by various microbes, after being used by a human, may be one of the most dangerous hazards to the environment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Chlorella , Microalgae , Humans , Plastics , Microplastics , Pandemics
3.
Sci Total Environ ; 892: 164803, 2023 Sep 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20236896

ABSTRACT

With the upsurge in the use of disposable masks during the coronavirus disease pandemic, improper disposal of discarded masks and their negative impact on the environment have emerged as major issues. Improperly disposed of masks release various pollutants, particularly microplastic (MP) fibers, which can harm both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems by interfering with the nutrient cycling, plant growth, and the health and reproductive success of organisms. This study assesses the environmental distribution of polypropylene (PP)-containing MPs, generated from disposable masks, using material flow analysis (MFA). The system flowchart is designed based on the processing efficiency of various compartments in the MFA model. The highest amount of MPs (99.7 %) is found in the landfill and soil compartments. A scenario analysis reveals that waste incineration significantly reduces the amount of MP transferred to landfills. Therefore, considering cogeneration and gradually increasing the incineration treatment rate are crucial to manage the processing load of waste incineration plants and minimize the negative impact of MPs on the environment. The findings provide insights into the potential environmental exposure associated with the improper disposal of waste masks and indicate strategies for sustainable mask disposal and management.


Subject(s)
Ecosystem , Masks , Microplastics , Plastics , Polypropylenes
4.
Molecules ; 28(11)2023 May 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20236404

ABSTRACT

Brazil has a megadiversity that includes marine species that are distributed along 800 km of shoreline. This biodiversity status holds promising biotechnological potential. Marine organisms are important sources of novel chemical species, with applications in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, chemical, and nutraceutical fields. However, ecological pressures derived from anthropogenic actions, including the bioaccumulation of potentially toxic elements and microplastics, impact promising species. This review describes the current status of the biotechnological and environmental aspects of seaweeds and corals from the Brazilian coast, including publications from the last 5 years (from January 2018 to December 2022). The search was conducted in the main public databases (PubChem, PubMed, Science Direct, and Google Scholar) and in the Espacenet database (European Patent Office-EPO) and the Brazilian National Property Institute (INPI). Bioprospecting studies were reported for seventy-one seaweed species and fifteen corals, but few targeted the isolation of compounds. The antioxidant potential was the most investigated biological activity. Despite being potential sources of macro- and microelements, there is a literature gap regarding the presence of potentially toxic elements and other emergent contaminants, such as microplastics, in seaweeds and corals from the Brazilian coast.


Subject(s)
Anthozoa , Seaweed , Animals , Brazil , Microplastics , Plastics , Seaweed/chemistry
5.
Mar Pollut Bull ; 192: 115088, 2023 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2327638

ABSTRACT

Personal protective equipment (PPE) use has increased because of COVID-19, producing more microplastics (MPs). The pandemic's impact on MP pollution in Indian rivers is little understood. In this study, the Netravathi River in Karnataka was investigated for the spatiotemporal distribution of MPs. The MPs abundance, size, and categories varied seasonally, with a higher concentration during the monsoon seasons. The reduction in rainfall during MON20 and the COVID-19 lockdown can be the reasons for the significant decrease in the MP concentration when compared to MON19. Polyethylene and polyethylene terephthalate were the most abundant polymers, with a shift from polyethylene to the latter (74 %) during post-monsoon season post-lockdown. The situation of MP pollution in Western Ghats can be mitigated with the aid of appropriate waste management of plastic trash and greater public awareness about the disposal of single-use plastics, which has risen significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Water Pollutants, Chemical , Humans , Microplastics , Plastics , Rivers , Pandemics , India/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Polyethylene , Environmental Monitoring , Water Pollutants, Chemical/analysis
6.
Sci Total Environ ; 890: 164359, 2023 Sep 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2324437

ABSTRACT

Microplastics (MPs) and nanoplastics (NPs) have caused global environmental concerns due to their ubiquitous existence in our surrounding environment and the potential threats posed to the ecosystem and human health. This review aims to extend current knowledge on the formation and degradation of MPs and NPs. The paper presents the potential sources of MPs and NPs including plastic containers, textiles, cosmetics, personal care products, COVID-19 wastes, and other plastic products. Once in the natural environment, the fragmentation and degradation of plastic wastes are thought to be initiated by physical, chemical, and biological factors. The corresponding degradation mechanism will be presented in the present review. Given the plastic life and environment, humans are inevitably exposed to MPs and NPs through ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact. The potential risks MPs/NPs pose to humans will be also discussed in our study. Currently, the relevance of MP/NP exposure to human health outcomes is still controversial and not yet fully understood. Deciphering the translocation and degradation of plastics in the human body will be helpful to reveal their potential organotoxicity. In this case, available approaches to alleviate MP/NP pollution and advanced strategies to reduce MP/NP toxicity in humans are recommended to build a plastic-free life.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Water Pollutants, Chemical , Humans , Ecosystem , Plastics , Environment , Environmental Pollution , Microplastics
7.
Sci Total Environ ; 887: 163984, 2023 Aug 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2318323

ABSTRACT

The widespread use of Personal protective equipments (PPEs) by the healthcare professionals and public due to Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic has become a new source for MFs pollution. Mismanaged plastic wastes and random dispose of used surgical face mask end up in large aquatic bodies via small waterways and waste water treatment plants (WWTPs). Microplastics/Microfibres (MPs/MFs) have recently been reported in a variety of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, including water, deep sea sediments, air and soil. Natural components like UV radiation and temperature play a major role in weathering of surgical masks. High loads of MPs/MFs emitted into the aquatic environment are easily consumed by organism's habitat in such ecosystem by disrupting the food chain and causing chronic health problems in the organisms including humans. The aim of this review article is to shed light on these issues and compile the most recent information available regarding the deterioration of surgical face masks in the environment as well as other contaminants and their presence in various environments, particularly with regard to methods that make use of exposure models, biomarkers of exposure, and their limitations. Along with this, the study focuses on identifying gaps in current understanding and highlighting prospective research directions. The literature on surgical face mask pollution and its effects on the biological and physiological systems of various organisms and ecosystems is critically analysed in this review. It also raises awareness of how to properly dispose of used surgical face masks and other PPEs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Water Pollutants, Chemical , Humans , Plastics , Ecosystem , Prospective Studies , Water Pollutants, Chemical/analysis , Microplastics , Biota
8.
J Environ Sci Health A Tox Hazard Subst Environ Eng ; 58(7): 694-705, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2317443

ABSTRACT

The mismanagement of consumer-discarded plastic waste (CDPW) has raised global environmental concerns about climate change. The COVID-19 outbreak has generated ∼1.6 million tons of plastic waste per day in the form of personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, face shields, and sanitizer bottles). These plastic wastes are either combustible or openly dumped in aquatic and terrestrial environments. Open dumping upsurges emerging contaminants like micro-nano plastics (MNPs) that directly enter the ecosystem and cause severe impacts on flora and fauna. Therefore, it has become an utmost priority to determine sustainable technologies that can degrade or treat MNPs from the environment. The present review assesses the sources and impacts of MNPs, various challenges, and issues associated with their remediation techniques. Accordingly, a novel sustainable circular model is recommended to increase the degradation efficiency of MNPs using biochemical and biological methods. It is also concluded that the proposed model does not only overcome environmental issues but also provides a sustainable secondary resource to meet the sustainable development goals (SDGs).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Plastics , Humans , Microplastics , Ecosystem , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control
9.
Sci Total Environ ; 887: 164164, 2023 Aug 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2315235

ABSTRACT

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people used personal protective equipment (PPE) to lessen the spread of the virus. The release of microplastics (MPs) from discarded PPE is a new threat to the long-term health of the environment and poses challenges that are not yet clear. PPE-derived MPs have been found in multi-environmental compartments, e.g., water, sediments, air, and soil across the Bay of Bengal (BoB). As COVID-19 spreads, healthcare facilities use more plastic PPE, polluting aquatic ecosystems. Excessive PPE use releases MPs into the ecosystem, which aquatic organisms ingest, distressing the food chain and possibly causing ongoing health problems in humans. Thus, post-COVID-19 sustainability depends on proper intervention strategies for PPE waste, which have received scholarly interest. Although many studies have investigated PPE-induced MPs pollution in the BoB countries (e.g., India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar), the ecotoxicity impacts, intervention strategies, and future challenges of PPE-derived waste have largely gone unnoticed. Our study presents a critical literature review covering the ecotoxicity impacts, intervention strategies, and future challenges across the BoB countries (e.g., India (162,034.45 tons), Bangladesh (67,996 tons), Sri Lanka (35,707.95 tons), and Myanmar (22,593.5 tons). The ecotoxicity impacts of PPE-derived MPs on human health and other environmental compartments are critically addressed. The review's findings infer a gap in the 5R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Redesign, and Restructure) Strategy's implementation in the BoB coastal regions, hindering the achievement of UN SDG-12. Despite widespread research advancements in the BoB, many questions about PPE-derived MPs pollution from the perspective of the COVID-19 era still need to be answered. In response to the post-COVID-19 environmental remediation concerns, this study highlights the present research gaps and suggests new research directions considering the current MPs' research advancements on COVID-related PPE waste. Finally, the review suggests a framework for proper intervention strategies for reducing and monitoring PPE-derived MPs pollution in the BoB countries.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Ecotoxicology , Ecosystem , Plastics/toxicity , Pandemics , Microplastics , Personal Protective Equipment
10.
Mar Pollut Bull ; 192: 115004, 2023 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2318957

ABSTRACT

The entire human race is struggling with the spread of COVID-19. Worldwide, the wearing of face masks is indispensable to prevent such spread. Despite numerous studies reporting on the fabrication of face masks and surgical masks to reduce spread and thus human deaths, this novel work is considered the marine waste of microplastics, namely Polypropylene (PP) polymer, used to fabricate non-woven fabric masks through the melt-blown process. This experimental work aims to maximize the mask's quality and minimize its fabrication cost by optimizing the melt-blown process parameters and using microplastics. The melt-blown process was used to make masks. Parameters such as extruder temperature, hot air temperature, melt flow rate, and die-to-collector distance (DCD) were investigated as independent variables. The quality of the mask was investigated in terms of bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE), particle filtration efficiency (PFE), and differential pressure. The Taguchi L16 orthogonal array and Taguchi analysis were employed for experimental design and statistical optimization, respectively. The results reveal that the higher BFE and PFE are recorded at 96.7 % and 98.6 %, respectively. The surface morphological investigation on different layers ensured the fine and uniform porosity of the layers and exhibited minimum breath resistance (a low differential pressure of 0.00152 kPa/cm2). Hence the chemically treated marine waste microplastics improved the masks' performance.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Polypropylenes , Microplastics , Plastics , Filtration
11.
Mar Pollut Bull ; 191: 114954, 2023 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2309214

ABSTRACT

Facemasks have become a global medical necessity and are a key preventive measure against COVID-19. Typically, facemasks (FMs) are fabricated from non-renewable polymers, particularly polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE), which release secondary microplastic (MPs) due to the chemical, physical, and biological processes. In light of the widespread usage and improper disposal of single-use facemasks, there is concern about their environmental impact since they contribute to plastic pollution during and after pandemics. The repercussions of this have led to millions of tons of plastic waste being dumped into the environment. Due to lack of awareness and improper disposal, the occurrence of micro/nanoplastics released from facemasks in wastewater treatment plants and landfills poses a concern. Infiltration of wastewater treatment processes by micro/nanoplastics at various levels can be problematic because of their chemical nature and broad but small size. Thus, operational and process stability issues can arise during wastewater treatment processes. In addition, landfilling and illegal waste disposal are being used to dispose of potentially infectious COVID-19 waste, leading to an environmental threat to animal and human health and exacerbating plastic pollution. This paper reviews the fate of facemasks in the environment and the repercussions of improper waste management of facemasks in wastewater treatment plants, landfills, and ultimately the environment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Water Pollutants, Chemical , Animals , Humans , Microplastics , Plastics , Masks , Water Pollutants, Chemical/analysis , Environmental Monitoring
12.
Environ Sci Pollut Res Int ; 30(24): 66102-66112, 2023 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2307023

ABSTRACT

A generation of microplastics caused by improper disposal of disposable masks has become a non-negligible environmental concern. In order to investigate the degradation mechanisms of masks and the release of microplastics under different environmental conditions, the masks are placed in 4 common environments. After 30 days of weathering, the total amount and release kinetics of microplastics released from different layers of the mask were studied. The chemical and mechanical properties of the mask were also discussed. The results showed that the mask released 25141±3543 particles/mask into the soil, which is much more than the sea and river water. The release kinetics of microplastics fit the Elovich model better. All samples correspond to the release rate of microplastics from fast to slow. Experiments show that the middle layer of the mask is released more than the other layers, and the amount of release was highest in the soil. And the tensile capacity of the mask is negatively correlated with its ability to release microplastics in the following order, which are soil > seawater > river > air > new masks. In addition, during the weathering process, the C-C/C-H bond of the mask was broken.


Subject(s)
Microplastics , Plastics , Fresh Water , Kinetics , Soil
13.
Environ Sci Pollut Res Int ; 30(24): 64800-64826, 2023 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2299462

ABSTRACT

The ubiquitous nature of microplastics (MPs) in nature and the risks they pose on the environment and human health have led to an increased research interest in the topic. Despite being an area of high plastic production and consumption, studies on MPs in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have been limited. However, the region witnessed a research surge in 2021 attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this review, a total of 97 studies were analyzed based on their environmental compartments (marine, freshwater, air, and terrestrial) and matrices (sediments, water columns, biota, soil, etc.). Then, the MP concentrations and polymer types were utilized to conduct a risk assessment to provide a critical analysis of the data. The highest MP concentrations recorded in the marine water column and sediments were in the Mediterranean Sea in Tunisia with 400 items/m3 and 7960 items/kg of sediments, respectively. The number of MPs in biota ranged between 0 and 7525 per individual across all the aquatic compartments. For the air compartment, a school classroom had 56,000 items/g of dust in Iran due to the confined space. Very high risks in the sediment samples (Eri > 1500) were recorded in the Caspian Sea and Arab/Persian Gulf due to their closed or semi-closed nature that promotes sedimentation. The risk factors obtained are sensitive to the reference concentration which calls for the development of more reliable risk assessment approaches. Finally, more studies are needed in understudied MENA environmental compartments such as groundwater, deserts, and estuaries.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Water Pollutants, Chemical , Humans , Microplastics/analysis , Plastics/analysis , Ecosystem , Pandemics , Geologic Sediments , Water Pollutants, Chemical/analysis , Environmental Monitoring , Middle East , Water/analysis , Tunisia
14.
Environ Sci Pollut Res Int ; 30(24): 66195-66208, 2023 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2299403

ABSTRACT

Microplastics and benzyldimethyldodecylammonioum chloride (DDBAC) enter the environment more frequently during the COVID-19 pandemic and their co-occurrence will be a potential threat to the environment in the post-pandemic era. This study investigates the performance of an electrochemical system for the simultaneous removal of microplastics and DDBAC. During experimental studies, effects of applied voltage (3-15 V), pH (4-10), time (0-80 min), electrolyte concentration (0.01-0.0.09 M), electrode configuration, and perforated anode were investigated to identify their influence on DDBAC and microplastics removal efficiency. Eventually, the techno-economic optimization yielded to evaluate the commercial feasibility of this process. The central composite design (CCD) and analysis of variance (ANOVA) are employed for evaluation and optimization of the variables and response, DDBAC-microplastics removal, and for determining the adequacy and significance of mathematical models proposed by response surface methodology (RSM). Experimental results indicate that optimum conditions are pH = 7.4, time = 80 min, electrolyte concentration = 0.05 M, and applied voltage = 12.59, in which the removal of microplastics, DDBAC, and TOC reached the maximum level, which was 82.50%, 90.35%, and 83.60% respectively. The results confirm that the valid model is adequately significant for the target response. Overall, financial and energy consumption analyses confirmed that this process is a promising technology as a commercial method for the removal of DDBAC-microplastics complexes in water and wastewater treatment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Water Pollutants, Chemical , Humans , Benzalkonium Compounds , Microplastics , Plastics , Pandemics , Electrocoagulation/methods , Chlorides , Electrodes , Water Pollutants, Chemical/chemistry
15.
Sci Total Environ ; 883: 163700, 2023 Jul 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2306523

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a notable upsurge of 5-10 % in global plastic production, which could have potential implications on the soil quality through increased microplastics (MPs) content. The elevated levels of MPs in the soil poses a significant threat to both the environment and human health, hence necessitating the remediation of MPs in the environment. Despite the significant attention given to MPs remediation in aqueous environments, less consideration has been given to MPs remediation in the soil. Consequently, this review highlights the major sources of MPs in the soil, their migration and transformation behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic, and emphasizes the importance of utilizing remediation technologies such as phytoremediation, thermal treatment, microbial degradation, and photodegradation for MPs in the soil. Furthermore, this review provides a prospective outlook on potential future remediation methods for MPs in the soil. Although the COVID-19 pandemic is nearing its end, the long-term impact of MPs on the soil remains, making this review a valuable reference for the remediation of MPs in the post-pandemic soil.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Microplastics , Humans , Plastics , Soil , Pandemics , COVID-19/epidemiology
16.
Sci Total Environ ; 882: 163617, 2023 Jul 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2294025

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented negative impacts in the modern era, including economic, social, and public health losses. On the other hand, the potential effects that the input of SARS-CoV-2 in the aquatic environment from sewage may represent on non-target organisms are not well known. In addition, it is not yet known whether the association of SARS-CoV-2 with other pollutants, such as microplastics (MPs), may further impact the aquatic biota. Thus, we aimed to evaluate the possible ecotoxicological effects of exposure of male adults Poecilia reticulata, for 15 days, to inactivated SARS-CoV-2 (0.742 pg/L; isolated SARS.CoV2/SP02.2020.HIAE.Br) and polyethylene MP (PE MPs) (7.1 × 104 particles/L), alone and in combination, from multiple biomarkers. Our data suggest that exposure to SARS-CoV-2 induced behavioral changes (in the open field test), nephrotoxic effect (inferred by the increase in creatinine), hepatotoxic effect (inferred by the increase in bilirubin production), imbalance in the homeostasis of Fe, Ca, and Mg, as well as an anticholinesterase effect in the animals [marked by the reduction of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) activity]. On the other hand, exposure to PE MPs induced a genotoxic effect (assessed by the comet assay), as well as an increase in enzyme activity alpha-amylase, alkaline phosphatase, and carboxylesterases. However, we did not show synergistic, antagonistic, or additive effects caused by the combined exposure of P. reticulata to SARS-CoV-2 and PE MPs. Principal component analysis (PCA) and values from the "Integrated Biomarker Response" index indicate that exposure to SARS-CoV-2 was determinant for a more prominent effect in the evaluated animals. Therefore, our study sheds light on the ecotoxicity of the new coronavirus in non-target organisms and ratifies the need for more attention to the impacts of COVID-19 on aquatic biota.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Water Pollutants, Chemical , Animals , Male , Humans , Microplastics/toxicity , Polyethylene/toxicity , Plastics/toxicity , SARS-CoV-2 , Acetylcholinesterase , Pandemics , Butyrylcholinesterase , Fishes , Biomarkers , Water Pollutants, Chemical/toxicity , Water Pollutants, Chemical/analysis
17.
Mar Pollut Bull ; 190: 114888, 2023 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2302408

ABSTRACT

We present a first study on the temporal changes (2019-2021) in the microplastic abundance in the coastal soils of an urban town in the south-western part of India. All sampling stations exhibited higher abundances of microplastics in soils collected during 2021 (959.7 ± 277.7 particles/kg) compared to those collected in 2019 (515.1 ± 182.7 particles/kg). Morphologically, flakes, fibres, and films are the most abundant types documented in the soil environment. The microplastics of 0.3-5 mm size are relatively more abundant (60.6 %) compared to those of 0.03-0.3 mm size (39.4 %) in 2021. The three main types of polymers (polypropylene and high- and low-density polyethylene) in the soil exhibited an increase in abundance during an interval of 15 months (October 2019 to March 2021). In addition to packaging materials, the enhanced use of surgical masks during the COVID-19 period might have acted as a source of microplastic contamination in the soils.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Water Pollutants, Chemical , Humans , Microplastics , Plastics , Soil , Environmental Monitoring , Water Pollutants, Chemical/analysis , India
18.
Int J Mol Sci ; 24(4)2023 Feb 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2287597

ABSTRACT

Plastic pollution is a significant problem worldwide because of the risks it poses to the equilibrium and health of the environment as well as to human beings. Discarded plastic released into the environment can degrade into microplastics (MPs) due to various factors, such as sunlight, seawater flow, and temperature. MP surfaces can act as solid scaffolds for microorganisms, viruses, and various biomolecules (such as LPS, allergens, and antibiotics), depending on the MP characteristics of size/surface area, chemical composition, and surface charge. The immune system has efficient recognition and elimination mechanisms for pathogens, foreign agents, and anomalous molecules, including pattern recognition receptors and phagocytosis. However, associations with MPs can modify the physical, structural, and functional characteristics of microbes and biomolecules, thereby changing their interactions with the host immune system (in particular with innate immune cells) and, most likely, the features of the subsequent innate/inflammatory response. Thus, exploring differences in the immune response to microbial agents that have been modified by interactions with MPs is meaningful in terms of identifying new possible risks to human health posed by anomalous stimulation of immune reactivities.


Subject(s)
Microplastics , Water Pollutants, Chemical , Humans , Plastics , Seawater/chemistry , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Immunity , Water Pollutants, Chemical/analysis , Environmental Monitoring
19.
Environ Sci Pollut Res Int ; 30(12): 35258-35268, 2023 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2252077

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic forced use of face masks up to billions of masks per day globally. Though an important and necessary measure for control of the pandemic, use of masks also poses some inherent risks. One of those risks is inhalation of microplastics released from the mask materials. Since most of the mask materials are made from plastic/polymers, they always have the potential to expose the user to fragmented microplastics. To estimate the amount of inhalable microplastic exuded from masks, an experiment simulating real-life scenario of mask usage was performed. The study included collection of microplastics oozed out from the masks on to a filter paper followed by staining and fluorescence detection of the total number of microplastics using a microscope. Both used and new masks were studied. Based on the emission wavelength, the microplastics were found to be belonging to three different categories, namely blue, green and red emitting microplastics respectively. The number of microplastic particles emitted per mask over a period of usage of 8 h was about 5000 to 9000 for new masks and about 6500 to 15,000 for used masks respectively. The estimation of polymer type of plastic in the mask fabrics was also carried out using Raman and FTIR spectroscopy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Microplastics , Plastics , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Masks
20.
Adv Sci (Weinh) ; 10(10): e2206120, 2023 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2264801

ABSTRACT

Microplastic (MP) pollution is one of the greatest threats to marine ecosystems. Cold seeps are characterized by methane-rich fluid seepage fueling one of the richest ecosystems on the seafloor, and there are approximately more than 900 cold seeps globally. While the long-term evolution of MPs in cold seeps remains unclear. Here, how MPs have been deposited in the Haima cold seep since the invention of plastics is demonstrated. It is found that the burial rates of MPs in the non-seepage areas significantly increased since the massive global use of plastics in the 1930s, nevertheless, the burial rates and abundance of MPs in the methane seepage areas are much lower than the non-seepage area of the cold seep, suggesting the degradation potential of MPs in cold seeps. More MP-degrading microorganism populations and functional genes are discovered in methane seepage areas to support this discovery. It is further investigated that the upwelling fluid seepage facilitated the fragmentation and degradation behaviors of MPs. Risk assessment indicated that long-term transport and transformation of MPs in the deeper sediments can reduce the potential environmental and ecological risks. The findings illuminated the need to determine fundamental strategies for sustainable marine plastic pollution mitigation in the natural deep-sea environments.


Subject(s)
Ecosystem , Geologic Sediments , Plastics , Microplastics , Methane/metabolism
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